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Best Overall: LG 27UK850-W at Amazon
"Checks all the boxes for a top-of-the-line multipurpose display."
Runner-Up, Best Overall: Dell Professional 27-inch at Amazon
"Offering a ton of features perfect for someone looking for a work-friendly unit."
Best Budget: Acer SB220Q bi at Amazon
"Its full HD 1080p IPS panel provides better viewing angles and overall picture quality than typically found in this price range."
Best for Gaming: ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ at Amazon
"Can hit a 144-hertz refresh rate with a 4ms response time."
Runner-Up, Best for Gaming: BenQ Zowie XL2740 at Amazon
"A powerful weapon for the most competitive gamers."
Best Ultra-Wide: Samsung CHG90 at Amazon
"Measures 49 inches with an aspect ratio of 32:9 — that’s like two 27-inch 16:9 monitors put together."
Best for Movies: AOC U3277PWQU 32-Inch at Amazon
"Delivering richer color accuracy with over 1.07 billion colors in total."
Best Design: BenQ Ultra HD 4K Design Monitor at Amazon
"This display delivers vivid and accurate color that will satisfy graphic design pros."
Whether you need a panel for gaming or video editing, you're going to want one of the best computer monitors. A good panel should provide you with more than just a clear picture, and our top picks do just that.
Some things to pay attention to besides the size of the monitor are resolution and refresh rate. These factors are certainly important when it comes to gaming performance, but photo or video professionals will need a monitor that touts hyper-accurate color profiles and brightness.
60Hz maximum refresh rate
Choosing the “best” monitor can very much depend on your needs, but the LG 27UK850-W checks all the boxes for a top-of-the-line multipurpose display. With its 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels), you’ll enjoy dazzling picture quality across a 27-inch screen with sleek, functional design.
The LG 27UK850’s in-plane switching (IPS) panel allows for 178-degree viewing angles and accurate, vibrant colors. It also supports high dynamic range (HDR) technology, and though it may not hit the peak brightness and color range some HDR-mode enthusiasts look for, the monitor delivers an excellent experience for both media watching and professional photo or video editing.
Those looking to the LG 27UK850 for gaming needs won’t be disappointed, either. Even without exceeding a 60-hertz refresh rate like speedier gaming monitors do, support for variable refresh rate through AMD’s FreeSync eliminates screen tearing while Dynamic Action Sync reduces input lag.
Our testing revealed a couple of features that the similar 27UK650 model doesn’t: built-in speakers and a USB-C port. The USB-C input gives it extra versatility for connecting to and charging today’s laptops and other devices. Added all up, you’ll get the premium features and performance you pay for with the LG 27UK850.
"Even without HDR, the regular SDR contrast and color range on this monitor is still excellent." — Bill Loguidice, Product Tester
Tons of port options
Not bright enough
This 27-inch monitor from Dell’s Professional line offers a ton of features perfect for someone looking for a work-friendly unit. With a 1920 x 1080 resolution and a 60 Hz refresh rate, our tests showed that it isn’t going to be good for gaming, but it will be perfectly crisp for business and general media consumption. The wide 16:9 aspect ratio is ideal for wielding multiple windows for increased productivity. And speaking of productivity, the fully adjustable stand will allow for your preferred viewing angle and arrangement — even if you’re looking for a vertical portrait orientation.
Dell’s Complete Clarity setting provides a 4,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, giving some amazing viewability from a color, sharpness, and shadow/highlight perspective. Dell has also baked in a tech they’re calling ComfortView that filters out excess blue light to dull the harsh effects of staring at your monitor for extended periods of time, allowing you to work longer and more comfortably. There’s one Display Port, one HDMI input, one VGA input, 3 USB ports (1 upstream and 2 inputs), and USB connectivity that supports the super-fast 3.0 protocol. Overall, it’s a great monitor that’ll factor in seamlessly to your work setup, whether it’s your only monitor or it’s part of a multi-screen system.
"If you’re an amateur photographer or videographer, you’ll be quite pleased with this Dell, as the color accuracy out of the box is excellent." — Zach Sweat, Product Tester
Solid refresh rate
No VESA mount
If you’re shopping on a limited monitor budget, the Acer SB220Q bi can help you squeeze the most pixel power out of each dollar. Given its low price tag, a surprising collection of features are packed into this quarter-inch-thin, nearly bezel-free frame. The 21.5-inch screen isn’t the biggest around, but its full High-Definition 1080p IPS panel provides better viewing angles and overall picture quality than the TN panels typical of this price range.
This versatile monitor throws in extra features for gamers as well. Its 75-hertz refresh rate is a slight bump up from the standard 60-hertz rate, and support for AMD FreeSync can dynamically create a smoother gaming experience when paired with compatible graphics cards. Its 4ms response time isn’t as fast as what modern TN panels can achieve, but our tests showed that it's still great for most cases.
The design of the Acer SB220Q bi, while sleek and solid enough, doesn’t offer much in the way of adjustability beyond a limited range of tilt. It also lacks USB inputs, with only one HDMI and one VGA port. Minor concessions like these keep it affordable, though, and still offers quite a few extra features for the price.
"While not quite zero, the bezel is probably only as thick as a few sheets of paper. It makes for a good-looking screen when in use, creating a near edge-to-edge display." — Zach Sweat, Product Tester
Great image quality
Really needs a top-notch graphics card to take full advantage
If you have a killer gaming setup and need a powerful gaming monitor to match, it doesn’t get much better than the ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ. As a premium 27-inch 4K IPS monitor in the Asus “Republic of Gamers” (ROG) hardware line, it brings all the latest display technologies together in one impressive package.
Combining HDR support with 384 individual zones of LED backlight, you’ll get stunning contrast between darks and lights, with brightness peaking at 1000 cd/m2 (or “nits”). It also supports the cinema-standard DCI-P3 color gamut, wider than the standard sRGB range, producing rich and accurate colors for media work as well as gaming.
Gamers will want speed along with their image quality, of course, and the ROG Swift PG27UQ can hit a 144-hertz refresh rate with a 4ms response time. Gameplay gets even smoother for those with compatible Nvidia graphics cards, thanks to the monitor’s G-Sync support. It also helps keep gamers’ eyes comfortable during long sessions with flicker reduction and low blue light technology. As a bonus, the machine shoots a red-light projection onto your wall or desktop—either the ROG logo or a custom design to suit your style.
Lots of adjustment options
240 Hz, 1ms response time
Shield flaps seem superfluous, looks somewhat plain
Other gaming monitors might boast 4K resolution and more advanced picture quality, but the BenQ Zowie XL2740 e-Sports Monitor goes beyond that — it’s a powerful weapon for the most competitive gamers. Instead of a newer IPS panel for wider viewing angles and improved color reproduction, the 27-inch XL2740 sticks to a 1080p twisted-nematic (TN) display to optimize refresh rates and response times. The result is maximum responsiveness with a 240-hertz refresh rate and truly minimal response rate and input lag — provided the rest of your gaming hardware can keep pace. These specs won’t make a big difference to everyday consumers, but they’re crucial for e-sports and fast-twitch gaming, where any frame can mean the difference between virtual life and death.
The Zowie XL2740’s other included features all keep serious gamers in mind. Adjustable shields on either side help block out unwanted light and other distractions. Specialized tools let you brighten dark areas, adjust color tones, and more. These settings can be fine-tuned based on your preferences and mapped to swappable custom profiles to get every edge possible in any gaming scenario.
Allows for versatile screen splitting
144Hz refresh rate
1080p resolution only
There are ultra-wide monitors — and then there’s the Samsung CHG90. The standard widescreen aspect ratio is 16:9, while the typical ultra-wide monitor might have a 34-inch screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Samsung’s “super ultrawide” measures 49 inches with an aspect ratio of 32:9. That’s like two 27-inch 16:9 monitors put together!
The screen has a tight 1800R curve that helps you see the edges of its vast real estate in your peripheral vision. It’s not the sharpest display available, though, with only 1080p vertical resolution and an 81.4 pixels-per-inch pixel density. It does, however, sport a QLED vertical alignment (VA) panel with local dimming. When combined with HDR mode, the monitor produces vivid colors and excellent picture quality.
The Samsung CHG90 also markets itself as gaming monitor, and its 144-hertz refresh rate and 1ms response time will certainly serve gamers well. It also features AMD’s FreeSync 2, the latest version of AMD’s variable refresh rate technology, which is designed to pair nicely with HDR. The monitor’s performance, size, and other extra gamer-centric features come together to provide a one-of-a-kind immersive gaming experience, provided you have the budget and desktop space to make it work.
Ultra HD resolution
Excellent color accuracy
Solid build quality
High input lag
If you want to watch movies from your computer, the 32-inch AOC 4K LED monitor strikes a good balance between size and features. The 3840 x 2160 4K Ultra HD screen has four times the resolution of an HD display, delivering richer color accuracy with over 1.07 billion colors in total. This monitor adds 178-degree viewing angles with consistent image quality across the board and two three-watt speakers on each side of the monitor for enhanced audio. Additionally, AOC opted for a TN panel instead of the more traditional IPS panel. This results in a superior contrast ratio — more brilliant colors and deeper blacks — for a vibrant movie-watching experience.
With 31.5 inches of viewable screen, there’s enough space for multiple windows (if you want to multitask while you watch). And AOC's flicker-free technology reduces the number of flickers that can be seen with each screen refresh on the LED, eliminating long-term discomfort or eye fatigue.
Excellent picture quality
Controlling settings could be easier
In order to be a successful designer (or photographer, or video editor), you need your monitor to render color faithfully to natural light. Apple’s monitors have long been the top choice, but the latest Thunderstruck is not coming out until later this year. Until then, the BenQ Ultra HD 4K Design Monitor does everything an artist needs it to do. Using premier color technology, this display delivers vivid and accurate color that will satisfy graphic design pros.
The monitor comes with a commanding 10-bit 100 percent sRGB color palette, accurately recreating over one billion colors with optimal precision and unrivaled contrast. In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology lets you see the color of an image from any angle, extraordinarily helpful for attention to detail. The full gamut of colors comes to you on a 27” or 32” screen in 3840x2160 Ultra HD 4K resolution, an astounding 8,294,400 pixels.
Designers will also appreciate CAD/CAM mode, which delivers unparalleled contrast on 3D lines to help amplify model’s wireframes. The monitor also comes equipped with an animation mode that manipulates brightness and shadow to add depth to your creations and a picture-in-picture mode for video editing projects.
A monitor made for designers should be well-designed. BenQ outfitted the 4K Design Monitor with a responsive and easy-to-rotate swivel so you can see your creation from any angle. The bevel itself is slim and free of any unnecessary lights, allowing two monitors to be seamlessly integrated in dual-screen mode. It is rounded off with anti-glare screen coating and a low blue light to take counteract eye fatigue.
Unless you need your monitor to push more than 60 FPS, the LG 27UK850-W is easily the most well-rounded monitor in terms of features and specs. However, if money is no object and you require reference-quality color, the BenQ Ultra HD 4K Design Monitor is the way to go.
Bill Loguidice has more than 20 years' experience writing for a variety of major technology publications including TechRadar, PC Gamer, and Ars Technica. He's passionate about all forms of technology and how they continue to impact and enrich our lives every day.
Zach Sweat is an experienced editor, writer and photographer based in New York City. He is passionate about using written language to make people think, discover or learn new things, find stuff they enjoy and make connections with each other.
Refresh rate - The refresh rate of a monitor refers to how many times per second the screen can update with new image data. This is most important for playing games, and you’ll want to look for a monitor with a refresh rate of at least 144Hz if you’re really serious. Most gamers will be satisfied with a refresh rate of 75Hz or more, but if you don’t use your computer for gaming, you can opt for lower.
Display type - Monitor display types can be hard to understand because there are several different types of LED displays. IPS monitors have great color reproduction and viewing angles, so they’re good for watching video content, any work that requires accurate colors, and most general use scenarios. TN monitors have worse viewing angles, but fast refresh rates make them perfectly suited for gaming.
Resolution - Resolution refers to the number of pixels that the monitor can display, which impacts the sharpness and clarity of the image. The lowest resolution you should settle for is 1920 x 1080, which is referred to as full HD. If you want to take it to the next level—and your video card can handle it—go for a 4K monitor with a 3840 x 2160 resolution.